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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Start/Bench List - Week 14
Whitney Walters
December 8, 2005
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM  
CHI at PIT NE at BUF NYG at PHI KC at DAL DET at GB  
CLE at CIN OAK at NYJ SF at SEA MIA at SD Mon 9 PM  
HOU at TEN STL at MIN WAS at ARI   NO at ATL  
IND at JAC TB at CAR BAL at DEN   (times ET)  
    Player List by Position
Start/Bench Codes (SBC) Early Injury Status
S1: Must start, 1st string. X: No start or bench indications / Could go either way. (O): Out    (D): Doubtful
S2: Solid starter, 2nd string. B: Bench 'em / Too much risk. (Q): Questionable
U: Upside player / Possible sleeper. (P): Probable
 
Chicago (9-3) at Pittsburgh (7-5) Back to top
Chicago
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Kyle Orton B

As long as the Bears can keep winning with Orton throwing for 130 yards and a score they'll be happy. That can't be said for any fantasy owners that actually have Orton on their roster.

RB Thomas Jones S2

Jones hasn't had a 100-yard game since week seven and hasn't scored since week six. The Bears are running the ball well, just not at the clip they were earlier in the season. You shouldn't expect much improvement this week on the road facing the stout Steelers run defense.

RB Adrian Peterson B

Peterson did get 11 carries last week, his high for the season other than the week 10 game he filled in for the injured Jones. But he's still just a backup that is spelling Jones for a series or two each game.

WR Muhsin Muhammad (P) X

Muhammad failed to catch a ball last week for the first time in 51 games as the Chicago passing attack was nowhere to be found. He has a decent matchup with CB Townsend this week, but you shouldn't look for much more than his 4-6 catches and the occasional TD.

WR Justin Gage X

Muhammad draws a lot of attention in coverage and Gage has been a solid option for Orton on the other side. The #2 WR in the league's worst passing offense is rarely, if ever, going to be a fantasy option.

TE Desmond Clark

B

Has become a non-factor.
Pittsburgh
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Ben Roethlisberger (P) X

Despite the highly publicized thumb injury, Roethlisberger had season highs in attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns last week (interceptions as well). There's nowhere to go but down from there, and it could be WAY down with the ferocious Chicago defense coming to town.

RB Willie Parker  S2 Parker is still the leader of the Pittsburgh running attack but hasn't been a game-breaker for weeks. This is a tough matchup with the Bears defense, but the Steelers will likely run the ball more this week as it will be a low scoring affair. A borderline starter.
RB Jerome Bettis (P) X

Bettis has been nursing a quad injury and he's been fairly ineffective for the past three games. However he did get a touchdown last week after a month-long drought. Remains a scoring threat each week and a solid start for TD-only scoring leagues.

RB Duce Staley   B

Duce's new role as the team's 3rd-down back has produced little in the past two games (6 carries for 8 yards, 2 catches for 9 yards). He's been highly ineffective.

WR Hines Ward S2

The Steeler passing game may be limited on most occasions, but Ward is the primary weapon in that attack and his matchup with CB's Vasher and Tillman should be highly entertaining and just productive enough for his fantasy owners.

WR Antwaan Randle El X Randle El remains consistent, but only marginally productive. He hasn't produced more than 50 yards since week three, and hasn't scored since week one.
TE Heath Miller S2

Miller hasn't seen the end-zone since week 8, but since Roethlisberger's return has been very active in the passing game. That won't change this week but he may have his opportunities limited if he's needed in pass protection against the Chicago pass rush.

 
Cleveland (4-8) at Cincinnati (9-3) Back to top
Cleveland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Charlie Frye   U

The rookie played fairly well in his first start last week and is slated to remain the starter for now. His 226 yards and two TD's against the very stout Jaguars defense was impressive for a rookie in his first start. Having Edwards go down will hurt his value, but with Cleveland likely having to pass heavily to keep pace with the Bengals, Frye is a nice sleeper pick this week.

RB Reuben Droughns (Q) X

Droughns has had a solid season and last week became the first Cleveland back since 1985 to have a 1000 yard season. Cincinnati has played improved defense lately, but as long as the Browns can keep this game close Droughns will get his carries and produce. Keeping it close will be difficult.

WR Antonio Bryant U

Bryant has been the most consistent fantasy producer in the Browns passing game but had taken a back seat to the emerging Edwards over the last three weeks. That will all change now. Could surprise this week against the Bengals as Cleveland will likely have to pass often to keep pace. The uncertainty at QB hurts his value a bit.

WR Jackson Frisman X

Moves into the #3 WR role with the injury to Edwards. Could produce in that role against the Bengals defense, but with the uncertain QB situation the risk is pretty high.

WR Dennis Northcutt X Gets his starting job back with Edwards out. He barely produced in that role most of the season and there's no reason to think that will change much now.
TE Steve Heiden
Aaron Shea
B With Frye at QB the tight end all but disappeared last week. Heiden and Shea had only a catch a piece.
Cincinnati
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Carson Palmer S1

Only Peyton Manning is a hotter quarterback right now.

RB Rudi Johnson (P) S2

Johnson's biggest rushing day of the year came in week one against the Browns, when he rushed 26 times for 126 yards. Cleveland hasn't improved much since then at stopping the run.

RB Chris Perry B

Perry may be a more explosive play maker than Johnson but recently he's been used sparingly as the passing game is focusing more down field to the wide receivers.

WR Chad Johnson S1

Should excel in his matchup with mediocre CB's Bodden and McCutcheon. You will likely see more end-zone celebrations this week.

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh S2

Houshmandzadeh has been having a field day lately working out of the slot in 3-WR sets, where he sees tons of single coverage due to all the attention Johnson gets. He's had three touchdowns in the past two games and stays very active in the passing attack.

WR Chris Henry U There isn't much left in the passing game beyond Chad and T.J., but Henry continues to make the most of his limited looks. Didn't score last week, but had in the three previous games. Palmer isn't afraid to spread the ball to all three of his WR's.
 
Houston (1-11) at Tennessee (3-9) Back to top
Houston
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Carr U

After falling flat last week, this matchup with Tennessee presents a good opportunity for Carr to bounce back. The Titans still have problems in their secondary and have allowed a league high 25 passing touchdowns this season.

RB Domanick Davis (P) S2

Davis is still the most productive and consistent offensive weapon for the Texans. He put up a season high 173 total yards on the Titans in week five. Look for more of the same this weekend.

WR Andre Johnson S2

Johnson has been up and down since his return from injury last month, only twice having a big game. This week is a great chance for number three. Cornerbacks Hill and Jones love bump-and-run coverage but they should be no match for Johnson's size and speed.

WR Jabar Gaffney (Q) X

Since Johnson's return Gaffney's slid into more of a possession receiver role, averaging just 7 yards a catch over the past three games. Will continue to stay active on the opposite side of coverage gathering Johnson, but that won't often warrant a starting spot on most fantasy squads.

WR

Corey Bradford

B Catches have gone down each week over the past month, bottoming out at zero last week.
Tennessee
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Steve McNair (Q) S2

McNair will likely be playing hurt this week with shin and ankle injuries. That rarely slows him down and surly won't in this nice matchup with Houston. If you've made your fantasy playoffs and have taken a hit at QB (like with Collins), McNair is a good option this week.

RB Chris Brown (Q) S2

Playing from behind last week the Titans had to abandon the run early and Brown received only 11 carries. That won't be the case this week and he should take center stage against the worst run defense in the league. Splitting carries with Henry keeps him from S1 status this week.

RB Travis Henry X Has received significant playing time for two weeks now. Henry will likely to be in the mix this week as the Titans will want to run the ball against the very porous Texans defense.
WR Drew Bennett (Q) S2

As the WR injuries mount, Bennett remains McNair's most reliable down field target. Aside from the tight ends he's the best fantasy option in the passing game.

WR Tyrone Calico
Courtney Roby
X With Roydell Williams out look for Calico to start this week and Roby to see increased action. Neither has been effective this season but both should see more looks with Williams and Kinney out.
TE Ben Troupe
Bo Scaife
S2

The tight ends typically account for at least half of the passing production in the Titans offense. That's been enough to make this one of the rare instances where a multi-TE offense has fantasy value. With Kinney likely out this week look for both Troupe and Scaife to produce.

 

Indianapolis (12-0) at Jacksonville (9-3)

Back to top
Indianapolis
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Peyton Manning S2

Manning's worst game of the year came in week two against the Jags - 122 yards and no touchdowns. The hot streak Manning is on may hit a bump in the road on Sunday. The Jags have the personnel on defense to pressure the QB and protection will be the key in this rematch. Without time Manning will struggle again.

RB Edgerrin James S2 Jacksonville has only allowed four rushing touchdowns this season, but they continue to slide in the yardage rankings. It won't be an easy afternoon, but James is still a fantasy starter.
WR Marvin Harrison S2

Harrison draws the toughest matchup in the passing game Sunday even though CB Rashean Mathis suffered a broken finger last week.

WR Reggie Wayne S2 Wayne has scored in every other game since week four of this season. If you buy into that trend then this will be his off week. Hard to go against him this week and his prime matchup with below average corners Wright and Cousin.
WR Brandon Stokley B

Stokley has scored only once this season and has become too unreliable as a fantasy option this season, regardless of potential upside some weeks.

TE Dallas Clark X

With Fletcher in the mix now Clark has become a fantasy non-factor but still holds some upside thanks to the potency of the Indy offense.

TE Bryan Fletcher X Fletcher has surpassed two catches only once this season, but he's making them count lately, scoring a touchdown in each of the past three games. Probably not a reliable fantasy option with Clark still on the field.
Jacksonville
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB David Garrard X

Garrard only threw for 116 yards last week but did manage two touchdowns and some rushing yardage. He'll be under intense pressure Sunday, but if given some time he'll have matchups down field to exploit. Odds are also good that he'll run for at least 50 yards avoiding the pass rush.

RB Fred Taylor (P) X

Taylor has now effectively missed five games now due to his bum ankle. There's a chance he may play in this very big game for the Jags. But it won't be known until much later in the week after he's had some days on the practice field. Even if they put him out there the risk is very high that he'll be ineffective against the Indy defense.

RB Greg Jones X

Jones will again carry the load if Taylor misses another game. Even if Taylor plays there's still a good chance Jones gets carries as it's doubtful Taylor will be 100%. Either way Jones isn't a good play this week.

WR Jimmy Smith S2

As expected new QB Garrard leaned on the reliable Smith last week, resulting in his first touchdown since week four. Look for more of the same in this matchup. Smith can beat the suspect Indy cornerbacks. All that's needed for his success will be for Garrard to handle the pressure of the Colts' pass rush.

WR Matt Jones B

Jones was completely out of the offensive flow last week with Garrard at QB. That makes just a single 7 yard catch in the two games that Garrard has led the offense. As Garrard becomes more comfortable running the show he may begin to look to his #3 WR, but for now Jones is off limits to fantasy owners.

WR Ernest Wilford U

Wilford stayed active with Garrard under center but last week had two key drops that could have resulted in touchdowns. If Garrard can get time to throw, Wilford could surprise against a secondary whose deficiencies is often covered up by the pass rush.

 
New England (7-5) at Buffalo (4-8) Back to top
New England
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Tom Brady (P) S2

Brady failed to throw a touchdown last week for only the second time this season. His only sub-200 yard game came against the Bills earlier this season. Since that time the play of the Buffalo defense (especially the secondary) has tailed off. Brady's a solid start this week.

RB Corey Dillon (Q) S2

Dillon got back on the playing field last week and came out of the game unscathed. He had 20 touches and produced 84 total yards and a touchdown. All in all a good performance for his return. Now it's time to step it up against the 31st ranked run defense.

RB Kevin Faulk (Q) X It looks like Faulk is healthy enough to shoulder the backup / 3rd-down role again in the Patriots offense. He put up 81 total yards last week on 14 touches. Not exactly what you need heading into your fantasy playoffs, but if Dillon goes down it looks like Faulk can again carry the load.
WR

Deion Branch

S2

Branch has been the most consistent option for Brady due to all the WR injuries. But he rarely has a big game and hasn't had more than five catches since week six. With the help of the WR corps improving teams will no longer be able to focus on Branch, but it also means Brady has more options, which he likes to use. Still a fantasy starter, but just barely.

WR

David Givens (Q)
Troy Brown
Andre Davis

B

Beyond Branch the New England WR corps is a mess for fantasy owners. Givens returned last week and pulled in five for 27 yards. Brown was also active and Davis caught a couple. As the WR corps' health improves look for the ball to continue to be spread around and for different receivers to step up opposite Branch each week.

TE Ben Watson X With Graham's injury problems, Watson has produced fairly consistent numbers over the past month. Hasn't seen the end-zone since week 10 so he's due.
Buffalo
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB J.P. Losman U

The most passing yards the Bills have put up this season came six weeks ago against the Patriots. But that was with Holcomb at quarterback. Now it's Losman's show. While he still struggles at times, there are good matchups in the NE secondary to be exploited. Could surprise this week for those fantasy owners that need some upside at QB.

RB Willis McGahee S2

McGahee hasn't tasted the end-zone since week six and hasn't notched a 100-yard game in over a month. The opposition is a primary cause as he's faced three top 5 run defenses in the past four games. The Patriots don't come close to that caliber of defense so it's time for the self-proclaimed best back in the NFL to get back on track.

WR Eric Moulds B

After 121 straight games with a catch, Moulds had zero last week as he stood on the sidelines for most of the final three quarters. There are mixed reports out of Buffalo that he may be suspended for a game. Looks like it's best to stay away from this situation for now.

WR Lee Evans S2

With Losman at QB Evans is a factor. In the four games with Holcomb, Evans was 10-120 and a TD. In the last four games with Losman he's 17-297 and 5 TD's. You can bet those numbers will take a big jump this week against the injury riddled NE secondary.

WR Josh Reed
Roscoe Parrish
X

With Moulds possibly out both Reed and Parrish will see an increased workload. It has not been announced who will be the starter this week and a case could be made for both. Whoever gets the start, and as a result the lion's share of the playing time, will be a nice sleeper pick this week.

 
Oakland (4-8) at New York Jets (2-10) Back to top
Oakland
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Marques Tuiasosopo B

A lot will be said this week defending this move by saying that "Tui" has Moss and Porter to go to down field. Well, so has Collins.

RB Lamont Jordan S2

Playing your former team is usually a formula for a good game. This formula is helped by the Jets ranking 29th against the run.

WR Randy Moss (P) X

Moss is not healthy and can't seem to go full speed anymore. Now he has basically a rookie throwing him the ball. A disappointing season takes another turn for the worse.

WR Jerry Porter X

I guess the best you can say is "Tui" has to throw the ball to someone.

WR Doug Gabriel B

New and inexperienced quarterbacks rarely look beyond their first couple of reads. Don't expect more than the catch or two he's been getting lately.

TE Courtney Anderson B Last week's single catch was for a TD, his first since week one. A very unpredictable option now with a new quarterback.
New York
Pos Player SBC Comments
QB Brooks Bollinger B

The Jets aren't scoring (only one TD in the last four games). And if they aren't scoring then their players don't make very good fantasy options. Especially Bollinger. Even this week with a favorable matchup with the injury depleted Oakland secondary.

RB Curtis Martin (P) S2

Martin remains the workhorse in the Jets backfield, but he's still dealing with a nagging right knee that is not 100% and will likely need off-season surgery. He'll get his carries against the Raiders weak defense and should produce his typical 60-80 yards. Toss in a likely score this week and you have a decent fantasy start.

WR Laveranues Coles X

The passing game just isn't there and Coles hasn't topped 40 yards in three of their last four games. This is a good matchup however as CB's Washington and Asomugha continue to struggle.

WR Justin McCareins  X

McCareins doesn't get the looks that Coles does in the passing game, but had done more with his in the two games prior to last week's 1-for-4 stinker. Has a bit of an upside this week thanks to the Oakland secondary. Not enough to warrant starting consideration though.

TE Doug Jolley X

Jolley has been active lately in the passing game, but there's just not much production to spread around to make him a viable fantasy option.

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